What Alternatives Are There to Netflix Or Blockbuster to Rent Movies Online?

For those who like to rent movies online, the options have been rapidly expanding. While much attention is still paid to major players like Netflix and Blockbuster, other online movie rental outlets are also available who offer good services.

Three major companies vying for market share are the very well known amazon.com and iTunes and Roxio CinemaNow.

What does Amazon.com offer? Though amazon.com is a well-known name, its online movie rental service is not as high profile.

Amazon has a wide variety of movies to rent online, as well as TV shows, through their Video on Demand service but offer nothing extra over Netflix or Blockbuster.

Rentals from amazon.com is compatible with a variety of devices, including TiVo, the Roku box, and a variety of Internet-ready TVs and DVD players, most of which, conveniently, can also be purchased directly through amazon.

What Does iTunes offer? iTunes online movie rentals can be viewed through an Apple TV device directly on the TV, or played on an iPod or iPhone for portability.

The iPod playback can also be fed directly into the TV, or files can be viewed on a computer using iTunes or Quicktime.

With its wide range of TV episodes and full seasons as well as movies, iTunes is a good place to rent movies online.

iTunes is still largely viewed as an outlet for music, iTunes has made its way more and more prominently into the movie and TV rental and download market.

iTunes first started out offering downloads of TV episodes. With the success of this venture, it eventually added movies, and has become a popular and convenient place to rent movies online as many people are already very familiar with the iPhone and iPod devices.

What does Roxio CinemaNow offer? Roxio CinemaNow is not as well known as iTunes, but does offer over 60,000 movies to rent online.

Roxio supports a variety of devices, including Internet ready TVs and DVD players, TiVo, and Xbox 360.

There are portable devices supported too. Members can also rent movies online in DivX format, which can be burned onto a disc and played in many standard DVD players.

Roxio has a good selection of new releases and offers movie downloads for purchase.

So which one should you go for? The only unique advantages that any of these 3 services to rent movies online has over Netflix or Blockbuster is available at iTunes.

iTunes offer the option to watch your movies on the iPhone or iPod. So if you own one of these devices as many do, watching movies instantly is easier than using devices you are unfamiliar with.

And according to recent reports, it doesn’t seem that Netflix or Blockbuster will be offering the option to watch movies instantly on your iPhone or iPod any time soon.

The number of movies and genres on offer is also less than you get at Blockbuster and Netflix.

My advice would be to rent movies online from established players like Netflix and Blockbuster. They have a huge range of movies as well as a great range of viewing options which is growing rapidly. And their monthly plans don’t cost much.

10 Reasons Why It’s Time For You To Rent Movies Online

There was a time, in the not so distant past, when a trip out to your local video store with the family was a weekly or monthly treat. If you were fortunate enough to have a bigger video rental store that had multiple copies of new releases and thousands of DVDs on hand, there was a good chance you could find movies to suit everyone. But a few things have happened since those days that have rendered video rental stores all but obsolete.

For starters, big box outlets such as Blockbuster have been driven out of the bricks and mortar video rental business to seek salvation online. For most of us, our video stores are nothing more than corner convenience stores with a few hundred movies on hand at any time. Space is at a premium for these guys so they can only afford to have a few copies of new releases along with a smattering of older movie rental titles on hand at any time. It’s a bit frustrating to drive out only to find the movie you had your heart set on is always out.

In addition, next day returns and the inconvenience that it implies, usually finds us racking up late fees that often would have worked out cheaper for us if we’d bought the DVD instead. And what if you’re heading out on a road trip or to the cottage for a weekend – 24 hour rental periods just don’t cut it for a lot of us. And what about the actual rental fee? $3 or more per movie rental? Everyone with a cable or satellite subscription has access to pay-per-view movie rentals, and the concept is quite sound. The downside is that typical pay-per-view rentals cost $5 or more. I’m not sure the convenience is worth that much more.

Maybe it’s time you rent movies online!

Why? Well, rather than run on about online movie rental and why it’s the right option for you, allow me to state my case with the following list of 10 Reasons It’s Time For You To Rent Movies Online!

1. Selection. If you rent movies online from instant movie streaming or DVD by mail providers, you will generally have access to anywhere from a few thousand up to 80,000+ movie and TV titles to choose from. Your local video store probably can’t hold a match to that kind of selection.

2. Availability. In all but a few rare exceptions, the movie you want is always available. Most DVD by mail services have hundreds of copies of individual movie titles on hand. Instant movie streaming services like Netflix have no limitation on how many subscribers watch individual movie titles. If you rent movies online, your favorites are almost always available.

3. Savings. When you rent movies online from DVD by mail services, they typically have subscription plans that allow several DVD rentals, some even unlimited, per month for monthly fees as low as $5.95. Even if you only rent movies online only twice per month, you are already ahead. With instant video streaming services, typical plans run from about $8+ per month or, if you opt for a per rental provider such as iTunes or YouTube, you will typically pay $0.99 – $3.99 per online movie rental. Though the latter may be close in price to what you are currently paying at your local video store, you need to factor in both points 1 and 2 (Selection, Availability) and, more importantly, point 4 which is “Convenience”.

4. Convenience. Your local video outlet or convenience store will never be as easy for you as when you rent movies online. Bottom line – shopping for an online movie rental from your computer, tablet or TV means you never have to leave the house for movie night again. And online movie rental providers are open 24/7 which means, you can rent movies online anytime you want, day or night, from just about anywhere. Instant video streaming services allow you to choose a movie and start watching right away. DVD by mail services will deliver movies to your mailbox, for free, within 1 – 3 days.

5. No late fees – ever! This is a big one for me and perhaps for you as well. When you rent movies online from instant video streaming services you generally have up to 30 days to start watching your movie and 24 to 48 hours to watch it as often as you like. After that period has elapsed, the rental is automatically deleted from your rental library. If you rent movies from an unlimited subscription provider such as Netflix then there is no limitation on the number of times you watch a movie and you never have to remember to return it. On the DVD by mail side, they don’t have due dates or late fees. Instead, they usually put a cap on how many DVD movies you can rent at one time. You can hold on to them for days, weeks or months and send them back when you are done. This is especially handy when renting children’s movies as, we all know, they could watch the same movie several times a day for days on end.

6. Browsing. Your local video store will generally have a wall or section devoted to new releases. The rest of their catalog will either be organized alphabetically or by genre or not at all. Browsing for movie titles can take hours if you’re undecided. When you rent movies online, all providers offer easy to use websites that allow you to search for movies alphabetically, by genre, by year, by director, by actor, by rating and more. Picking a movie to watch online is a cinch.

7. TV Shows and special genres. I know this kind of falls under “Selection” but the fact is, most smaller video stores just don’t stock Seasons of your favorite TV shows. And they generally don’t carry much in the way of Foreign Language films, Documentaries or more obscure movies.

8. Interactive features. One nice thing about online movie rentals when browsing your provider’s website is the ability to watch trailers, read viewer reviews and many also offer a suggestion feature that will provide you with similar titles for you to check out.

9. Flexibility. When you rent movies online for download or to watch instantly, you have a myriad of options as far as devices go. You can watch on Internet enabled TVs, BluRay players, gaming consoles such as Wii – Xbox – PS3, PC, Mac, tablets and other handheld devices. Granted, not all services allow you to stream on all of these devices, but you definitely aren’t limited to just watching on your TV.

10. Options. Most small towns or neighborhoods may only have a few video rental stores for you to choose from and most with more or less the same selection and pricing. When you rent movies online, you have more options at your disposal. You are free to choose a DVD by mail or instant movie streaming provider and if you don’t like their selection or service you can try out a host of other providers. None of them have long term contracts to bind you to their service.

And, although this is supposed to be a list of 10 reasons to rent movies online, here is one more. Many online movie rental services offer free trial periods from 2 weeks to 1 month so you can test out whether or not you like the service.

Legally Download Movies Online

If you’ve ever been tempted to download a movie illegally, there are some issues you should understand. First, you would be breaking the law, and your ISP can (and in most cases, will) give your personal information to the authorities. You can also be sued by the companies who own the movie. While you might not think it likely, there are several news stories available on Google of “casual” peer-to-peer downloaders being sued by huge corporations. You’re also taking a big risk when you download movies from people you don’t know. The files are very large, and you wouldn’t notice a small virus file that your virus software doesn’t catch. It’s just not smart.

There are now places where you can legally download movies. You can rent or buy movies that you download directly to your computer. There are even places where you can watch free movies online. Right now, there are only a handful of sites available, but as more movie companies and distributors move toward making their movies available as a means to prevent piracy losses, there will be more sites that allow you to rent or purchase downloadable movies.

Amazon.com has a program called “Amazon Unbox Video Downloads,” that allows you to rent or purchase movies online and download them to your computer. You then play the movie on a special program that you download for free from Amazon. You can also download movies from Amazon directly to your compatible TiVo DVR unit or portable video player. You don’t even have to wait as long as you would to illegally download a movie – you can start watching the movie while it’s still downloading. Purchased videos can be downloaded to more than one computer. You can only burn the movie on a CD or DVD for backup purposes. You won’t be able to play it in a DVD player, and you’ll only be able to watch it on one of your registered computers. Rentals start at $2 and purchases start at about $10. There are specials, coupons, and deals offered on a regular basis from Amazon for getting discounts on downloaded movies.

Movielink.com has a very similar program to Amazon. You download a program called Movielink Manager where you can organize and watch your rentals and purchases. Like Amazon, you can only burn CDs and DVDs to back up your movie. The DVDs will not play in DVD players. Movielink has ongoing specials including “surprise rentals” for $1 and frequent purchase discounts. Movielink will not work on Firefox, Opera, or Netscape browsers. You must use Internet Explorer.

CinemaNow.com also offers rentals and purchases. In addition, CinemaNow offers about 1200 streamed free movies that you can watch online. CinemaNow also offers several movies that, when purchased, CAN be burned to DVD to be played in DVD players.

There are advantages to downloading movies instead of renting or buying DVDs. You don’t have to worry about losing or scratching a rental, late fees, driving to a store, waiting for a DVD to be mailed to you, or getting the wrong movie. You also don’t have to worry about scratching the DVDs you own or trying to get scratched DVDs to play with various sprays and machines. You can backup the movies to be stored elsewhere so they don’t take up space on your computer and they won’t be lost in case of hard drive failure.

If you take advantage of S-Video connectors, you can directly link a lot of PCs or laptops to your television and watch the movies from Amazon, Movielink, and CinemaNow on your TV. There are also products from companies like X10 that let you broadcast from your PC or TV to other televisions in your home complete with remote control capabilities.

When you want to download a movie, it’s worth a few dollars to rent it from one of these sites and legally download the movie. You won’t risk lawsuits, viruses, or the horrible guilt you’ll feel for breaking the law!